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This article was published 17/3/2014 (801 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Todd Kerr finally has water flowing through his taps, but he is angry with city hall.
Kerr was without water for 17 days at his King Edward Street home when inexplicably the waterlines thawed on their own.
When Kerr notified the city about it, they cautioned him against leaving a tap on, as he would be responsible for additional water usage on his water bill.
"They said, 'You can (run a tap), but we're not going to compensate you for it,' " Kerr said. "They're telling thousands of people to run their water, but mine was frozen for 17 days and they're telling me they won't compensate me if I let mine drip."
Kerr, who lives alone, said he doesn't understand the city's reasoning: Property owners whose lines are thawed are advised to leave a tap running to prevent a refreeze, and the city will waive the additional cost on the water bill.
"So they'd rather run the risk of my lines freezing again and getting back on the backlog. That makes no sense."
Kerr said a 311 operator told him if the waterlines thawed on their own, the freeze must have occurred at some point on Kerr's property and the city will not waive the additional water charge in those circumstances.
Kerr said what really upsets him is city officials never went to his home to inspect the line.
"Yet some kid (the 311 operator) laughs at me and says they know it froze on my property. They don't know that. They never inspected my house.
"Some kid (the 311 operator), he's laughing at me and says, 'We don't need to come to your home. We've been doing this for 100 years.' "
Kerr said the backlog for thawing services has become so long the city no longer cares where the freeze occurred -- it's paying for the cost even if it's on private property.
The city stated that between March 10 and March 17, 394 additional properties reported frozen waterlines. A civic spokeswoman said only 18 of the 394 properties were among those in the at-risk area, where 5,447 property owners were advised to let a cold-water tap run 24 hours a day to prevent line freezing.
Kerr said he's concerned if he doesn't run his tap, his line will likely refreeze. "It's probably going to cost me about $500 to let a stream run for the next two to three months, but what choice do I have?" Kerr said.
A city spokeswoman confirmed the city's policy that property owners are responsible for the entire bill if the frozen waterline occurred on private property. The spokeswoman said city waterlines will not thaw on their own as the weather warms.